New York World

The Eight Things You Need to Know About Hollywood

Four years ago, I published a book called How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, about my spiraling descent down the New York food chain. I started out as an editor at Vanity Fair and ended up road-testing sex toys for a short-lived men’s magazine. Now, I’ve written a sequel, The Sound of No Hands Clapping, this time about my failure to “take” Hollywood. In brief, I was hired by a producer to write a picture, moved to Los Angeles in the hope of forging a career as a screenwriter and, in less time than it takes to say “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown,” was chewed up and spat out.

However, there’s no reason why you can’t learn from my mistakes. For those of you who still entertain fantasies of making it on the West Coast, here are the eight things you need to know about Hollywood:

1. Don’t Say Yes Until They Finish Talking

If a producer summons you to his office and pitches you an idea, it’s not good business practice to agree to do it before he’s got to the end of the first sentence. In 2002, a producer flew me to the Hotel du Cap for a meeting in what he described as “Sam Spiegel’s cabana” and began by asking me whether I’d ever thought of turning my hand to screenwriting. “Whatever it is, I’ll do it,” I replied. “Do me a favor,” he said. “Don’t say yes until I finish talking.” I was crestfallen until he explained that Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking is the title of Darryl Zanuck’s biography.

2. Force Them to Seduce You

Landing a movie deal is a lot like dating: If the producer you’re hoping to get into bed with gets a whiff of just how desperate you are, you’re not going to get to first base. You have to play hard-to-get. It helps if you’ve written a play or published a book, because everyone in Hollywood, no matter how successful, has a massive inferiority complex. The person sitting opposite you may be a billionaire several times over, but underneath he’s still just an overweight guy from Queens. He probably never even went to college. Remember, as far as he’s concerned, you’re Somerset Maugham.

3. Never Agree to Write a Treatment

When I secured my screenwriting deal, there was no “treatment” clause, which is a bit unusual. Typically, a writer is hired to write a treatment, a first draft and a polish. I decided to insert the missing component in the hope that having an opportunity to discuss the treatment with the producer would help me deepen my relationship with him. In fact, it had the opposite effect. He simply rejected every treatment I submitted, enabling him to delay paying me indefinitely.

4. Never Refer to Hollywood as “the Industry”

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I kept referring to “the industry,” a sure sign of a rube. This is a standing joke on the West Coast. In that famous Sopranos episode in which Christopher tries to land a movie deal, he repeatedly refers to “the industry,” something the writers inserted to show how completely out-of-touch he is. Hollywood is never referred to as “the industry” or “Tinseltown” or, indeed, “Hollywood.” It’s only ever referred to as “the business.”

5. Never Read the Trades in Public

It’s a well-known piece of Los Angeles lore that you can always spot the out-of-towners because they’re the ones reading Variety and The Hollywood Reporter in public. Out-of-towners are under the impression that the trades carry all sorts of interesting information about show business—stock quotes, reviews, box-office figures, etc.—when, in fact, the only reason people actually employed in the entertainment business read them is to find out how much their competitors are being paid. That’s why people read them in private: because discovering this information is nearly always accompanied by a string of expletives.

6. Always Have a Juicy Bit of Gossip to Impart

In Hollywood, the term “business lunch” is a contradiction in terms, along similar lines to “military intelligence” and “journalistic ethics.” In fact, lunch is an opportunity to trade inside baseball. Begin with a “salad-course story,” in which minor tidbits about friends and colleagues are imparted, progress to a “fish-course story,” usually a story about a major celebrity, and only when you reach the “decaf-cappuccino portion” of the meal should you finally get down to business. However, before you tell any stories, make sure no one important can overhear what you’re saying. After all, you don’t want to get a reputation as a gossip.

7. Keep a Shitpile in the Driveway

It’s customary for Hollywood types to have two cars, one for everyday use and one for show. Paradoxically, though, the “show car” is often a beaten-up old wreck, while the runabout is an expensive German sedan. The reason they keep the shitpile in the driveway is so they can point to it whenever anyone comes over and say, “Yeah, I don’t play that silly, money-obsessed game. I’m not about to surrender to a sick craving for status and misbegotten respect. I like to thumb my nose at the foolishness of the Hollywood machine.” In fact, if they ever have to drive the shitpile to a restaurant, they will tell the valet it’s their wife’s car as they hand over the keys.

8. Learn to Measure Your Self-Worth in Dollars and Cents

I spent over two years developing a screenplay with a producer, attending endless meetings and talking constantly on the phone. But after I turned it in, I never heard from him again. I left numerous messages, I loitered around his favorite restaurants—I even sent him a postcard. Nothing. The only indication that he’d received it was a check from the studio for completing the assignment. As one screenwriter famously put it, “They ruin your stories. They trample on your pride. They massacre your ideas. And what do you get for it? A fortune.”

—Toby Young

Tarts Take Manhattan

On Friday evening, David Ruiz, an usher at the Quad Cinema on 13th Street, marched over to a crowd of giddy women sipping Cokes and munching popcorn in the lobby to reprimand them for speaking too loudly.

“Ladies, please,” said Mr. Ruiz. “There are other movies playing in the other theaters.”

It was the fourth time Mr. Ruiz had hushed the women, who were waiting on line to see the New York premiere of Beowulf & Grendel, a low-budget Icelandic picture with a cast full of people with names like Bryjar Ágústsson, Helgi Björnsson, Pröstur Leó Gunnarsson and, somehow fittingly, Sarah Polley (she of The Sweet Hereafter and, more lately, Dawn of the Dead.) The women had come from Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Florida and even Canada to see the movie, though few if any of them cared much for Thanes or Geats or the fact that only one manuscript exists of this Old English epic, circa A.D. 1000, which is housed in the British Library in London. In fact, they didn’t much care for the details of the story of the hero and the vanquished monster. The only hero these women had come to worship was Gerard Butler.

Mr. Butler’s prior screen performances, as Attila, Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera, may not be recognized by the Academy, but they have inspired more than 10,000 women to form a committed fan club called “Gerry’s Tarts.” On Friday night, while they waited for Mr. Ruiz to unhook the velvet rope, roughly 125 Tarts—and a few Tartans, as the men are called—discussed Mr. Butler’s appeal.

“He’s extremely personable, generous, intelligent, very funny, charismatic and smart. He graduated with a law degree from Glasgow University,” said Patti Freeman, 48, a personal trainer from Maryland. She wore glasses and a black T-shirt with the Beowulf & Grendel movie poster emblazoned across her chest.

“And he’s hot,” chimed in Marian Bailey, a feisty 45-year-old who had driven up from Virginia with some other women from the Mid Atlantic Gerry Tarts chapter. They wore homemade buttons featuring Mr. Butler, wrapped in furs, as a scruffy but sensual Beowulf. Closer to the front of the line, and the concession stand, Amy Villalba, a 56-year-old legal secretary from Canada, modeled her own “Butler Babes: We’re Taking It Off With Gerry” button.

“I’ve lost 40 pounds,” said Ms. Villalba, a member of the Butler Babes weight-loss group. “All together, the gals have lost 425.”

Many of the women in line had seen the movie many, many times. Linda MacFarlane, a secretary from Toronto, buzzed with anticipation for her 15th viewing.

“There is this enormous groundswell, and it’s all just because they are horny for this guy,” said Gary Springer, the movie’s publicist, after personally welcoming many of the Tarts. “They want to see this guy be a superstar.”

Virgin Island Tarts, carrying bibs and drool bags in case of any Gerry sightings, flew over to see Mr. Butler as Beowulf at the Sarasota Film Festival. Japanese Tarts appeared in droves for a showing in Busan, Korea. Beowulf & Grendel would never have received a theatrical release in the United States if the Tarts hadn’t flooded into Canada and sent tickets to Canadian professors of Old English. According to Mr. Springer, the tarts accounted for about $500,000 in ticket sales in Canada alone.

“It was going straight to DVD from Canada, but then there was a lobbying effort from the U.S. Tarts,” said Ms. Bailey, jumping up on a chair to get a better look at any potential movement at the front of the line. Mr. Ruiz walked over and asked her to please step down. She popped up again when the film’s director, Sturla Gunnarsson, showed up wearing black jeans and a black T-shirt with Nordic white waves on it. The Tarts greeted him with adoring cheers, and he replied with earnest appreciation.

“You can’t help but like it. There is a genuine affection,” said Mr. Gunnarsson. “I can’t understand it, but it’s cool.”

Finally, Mr. Ruiz opened up the theater and the Tarts filed in, occupying every seat. While Tarts raffled off photographs of Mr. Butler in the aisle, Mr. Gunnarsson stood in the back of the theater, holding a red shopping bag.

“Is that the Gerry bag?” a Tart came up to him and asked.

“It is the Gerry bag,” he answered.

She handed him a yellow envelope with “Gerry” written in script across it. He dropped it into the bag, where it joined a book ( Earth Angels: A Pocket Guide for Incanted Angels, Elementals, Starpeople, Walk-ins, and Wizards), a box of Ho Hos and a carton of Marlboro Reds.

“Gerry has been trying to quit for a year now,” said Mr. Gunnarsson. “Before Beowulf, we sent him off to smoking camp for two weeks.”

—Jason Horowitz

George and Hilly

GEORGE: Doesn’t Hilly look glamorous today?

HILLY: Thank you.

DR. SELMAN: You do look very glamorous.

HILLY: Thank you. We just got back from Kansas City.

DR. SELMAN: What was the occasion?

HILLY: Well, George usually goes there once or twice a year to visit his family, and I got to go with him last year for the first time, and then I got to go again this year.

GEORGE: And we had a really nice time. Didn’t get to do everything; we wanted to go to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, this water park—

DR. SELMAN [ pushing forward a box of chocolates]: I’ll just leave this out, how’s that?

GEORGE: But we did go to the Nelson Museum, which is just a first-class museum, makes the Whitney look like a dump. Right, wasn’t it great?

HILLY [ eating chocolate]: Mmmm- hmmm.

GEORGE: We also went to a NASCAR race.

DR. SELMAN: Wow!

GEORGE: And what did you think?

HILLY: It was pretty cool! It was sort of funny, because there are far fewer moments of tension between me and George outside of New York. So the ones that did happen stick out in my mind, and one of them, before going to NASCAR—we had these V.I.P. tickets that his friend Hampton got for us to sit in the Presidential Suite. So I was thinking, “Ashley Judd is going to be there,” and I thought, “O.K., even though this is Kansas, there are going to be sophisticated people there—it’s called the Presidential Suite! People aren’t going to show up in cut-offs and tube tops.” So I put on a nice outfit. And George got really mad at me and forced me to change. So I changed and put on like shorts and this little shirt and just like nice flat sandals. Then he started freaking out, telling me I had to change my shoes and that we weren’t going to Aristotle Onassis’ yacht off Capri, we were going to hang out with a bunch of hillbillies. I ended up keeping those shoes on, though. His grandmother was on my side. So we got there and went up to the Presidential Suite, and there was a big sign that said you weren’t allowed in with shorts and sneakers. So we didn’t get to go in. So it was 102 degrees, and we had to sit outside.

GEORGE: The race was riveting. They’re probably 100,000 people there, and it was the most civilized sporting event I’d ever been to, including the U.S. Open. All these people and no one’s being boorish. Well, one guy did hit on Hilly when she went to the ladies’ room, but it sounded like he did it politely? Offered you some earplugs? For one thing, you can’t talk even to the person right next to you because it’s too loud. Plus everyone has these headphones on so they can listen to what’s going on with the pit crew. We sat there for four hours, and you get into this kind of trance.

DR. SELMAN: So now you’ll let her dress up however glamorously she wants to be?

GEORGE [ nods]: Other than that, we didn’t have any fights, right?

HILLY: Yeah, we did. On Sunday night, we went with his grandmother to have dinner and watch fireworks at the club. Gimma’s 93 years old but she’s as sharp as a tack, but nevertheless she’s 93 years old and it’s hot there, a lot of stuff going on. So we got there, and I guess George got really irritated by my enthusiasm, because there would be these lulls, these moments of silence, and Gimma had voiced her concern that we weren’t enjoying ourselves.

GEORGE: This was at dinner. And I think I apologized, because it turned out that everything you were saying to Gimma she appreciated. Maybe it was small talk and girl talk, but I think, as I explained later to Hilly, lulls in a conversation are O.K.

HILLY: It was this sort of, what do you call it—passive-aggressive tension.

GEORGE: Maybe I teased you.

HILLY: He was mocking me. Like I would say something to Gimma across the table and, as I was saying it, I can see out of my peripheral vision that he was making faces and rolling his eyes.

GEORGE: I think I may have done that as a kind of screwball comedy.

DR. SELMAN: So how did you feel about that, Hilly?

HILLY: It was really irritating. And actually it really got me mad, and I got up and walked away.

GEORGE: You said, “I’m going to the ladies’ room.” Well, can we focus on the positive?

HILLY: I got over it and I came back. The thing is, George had gone to get another hot dog or something, and you came back and you seemed pretty happy.

GEORGE: We had dinner there, and there was a ragtime band and little kids dancing and skydivers landed and fireworks. I thought it was a great evening.

DR. SELMAN: This was at the club?

HILLY: I think it’s one the most beautiful places in the whole world.

GEORGE: I had a wonderful time. What else is wrong? The food. I gained like 10 pounds eating double cheeseburgers.

DR. SELMAN: And hot dogs.

HILLY: And ice cream.

GEORGE: Barbecue. I wouldn’t eat the sushi there. I don’t think it’d be real sushi. I bet it’d be like trout or carp. But let’s say I started making some money, got a raise, got my career jump-started—I was thinking I would buy a house there and Hilly could live there, assuming everything works out and she curtails her drinking—

DR. SELMAN: If Hilly curtails her drinking?

GEORGE: And becomes even more vivacious and inspiring and exercises all the time and comes home and says, “Hey, let’s go do this thing! Let’s go, let’s go!”

DR. SELMAN: Just think, then you could go out for dinner to the club with your grandmother all the time.

GEORGE: Right, so I’d buy a house and we’d still have a studio apartment here; then I would fly back there two weekends a month—

DR. SELMAN: Hilly would stay there?

GEORGE: Yes, and take care of our daughters. This is assuming, you know, down the road—but I’m not sure if I want to have kids. Would it be O.K. if the buck stops here? We could adopt some Chinese girls, like Mia Farrow?

HILLY: Um, yeah, maybe.

GEORGE: That would be O.K.?

HILLY: I think so. Actually, ever since I was a kid, I’ve thought about adoption. But I don’t know—I have a lot of stuff I have to do before I even think about, you know, baby-sitting a kid.

GEORGE: I want to have like eight kids, because I’d worry that something would be wrong with one of them. Born without a torso or something.

HILLY: A litter.

GEORGE: Cats! Do you think that could satisfy our need to reproduce—a dozen cats?

HILLY: No.

GEORGE: Problems. Another problem—

DR. SELMAN: You know, this is all what you like. [ To HILLY] What would you like?

HILLY: Oh, I don’t know.

DR. SELMAN: It doesn’t sound like you had such a great time there.

HILLY: Oh, I had a great time.

GEORGE: You could live in Kansas City.

DR. SELMAN: You could live in Kansas City?

HILLY: I think I could!

DR. SELMAN: Do they have a Chanel?

HILLY: No, but they have fancy stores. Nice restaurants.

GEORGE: We really took it easy. I probably averaged one or two drinks a night, right? O.K., maybe not one or two, but we would get home at 12:30. I’d be driving slightly buzzed, but I could easily talk my way out of any getting-pulled-over situation. Alternating Sprite with vodka, water then a beer, that kind of thing. But we were home by 1 a.m., every night. Only had one bad incident, my last night after Hilly had come back to New York. I was out in Lawrence and went to the Free State Brewery and—

DR. SELMAN: That’s were they have all those missile silos, Lawrence?

GEORGE: I think. Definitely. I don’t know if it’s Lawrence, but nearby.

DR. SELMAN: I remember there was a movie, a series—

GEORGE: The Day After.

DR. SELMAN: The Day After! I think Lawrence, Kan., was ground zero.

GEORGE: I think Kansas City got blown up and Lawrence was the place where everyone took refuge. Maybe Lawrence was blown up too. That’s one of its claims to fame, that and the 1988 Jayhawks. I was there for that.

DR. SELMAN: I’m sorry. I interrupted you.

GEORGE: No, no, no. So I went out and I was with my sister and went to my favorite restaurant in the world, La Tropicana, and I had two tostadas, a burrito, enchilada, two tacos, tons of guacamole and salsa and cheese and chips, and two Modelo’s. Everything was O.K., but then I went to the Free State, and it was loud and bright and I had four or five of these beers—really thick and hoppy and heavy beers. Then went home, watched a Clint Eastwood movie, then around 5 a.m. I woke up, sat up real fast, and gasped and started spitting on the floor. It was like bile or acid rising up. It was pretty gross.

DR. SELMAN: Anybody would’ve puked their guts out after that.

GEORGE: You think? After four or five beers?

DR. SELMAN: After what you ate. Was probably 10 beers anyway.

GEORGE: Seven. But fast, all within a three-hour period. I got the results back from my sleep-disorder test. I have it right here.

DR. SELMAN: Let’s have a look.

[GEORGE hands DR. SELMAN a two-page report.]

HILLY: He took Xanax and Ambien at the sleep clinic.

GEORGE: Yes, but I think they’re still able to figure out what’s wrong. Basically, I was told that I can’t have alcohol three hours before I go to sleep.

DR. SELMAN: Does he know that you go out a lot?

GEORGE: Yes, he said I need to stop with the late-night partying, quit smoking, and what was the big one? Not drink three hours before … and… oh, lose five or 10 pounds!

DR. SELMAN: You just gained 10 pounds.

GEORGE: I know. Hilly is always reassuring me that my weight is fine, that I’m “perfect,” but people have told me otherwise. This society-writer friend of mine just looked at me at Swifty’s one night and said, “George, you’re fat.” But I’ve always sort of brushed that off as just superficial—I mean, some people think there’s an inherent moral quality to being handsome and fit. It’s like you could be a serial killer, Ted Bundy or something, and they’ll say, “Oh, he’s handsome! Let’s invite him to our dinner party! He’s handsome, put him on the committee!” Meanwhile, he’s bopping socialites on the head with a log.

DR. SELMAN: You know, I’m reading this and it’s hard to fathom—it sounds like you hardly slept at all. It says it took you 123.5 minutes to fall asleep.

GEORGE: I showed up at 9 p.m., and it takes them an hour to hook up all the electrodes to you—to my head, all the way down, everywhere, and they put these belts around you, one around your heart, one around your waist, and then over my shoulder is this box with like 50 electrodes stuck in there. I looked like a suicide bomber in a spacesuit. I couldn’t move. And then they say, “O.K., go to sleep now.” I thought I’d be able to read for a couple hours and go to bed at 3 or 4 a.m., like I normally do. But they’re like, “We need to turn out the lights now so we can monitor your sleep.” So I said, “Is it O.K. if I take a half of a Klonopin?” And they said, “Well you’re not really allowed but … O.K.!” And then an hour later they’re like, “So are you ready to go to sleep now?”

DR. SELMAN [ reading]: The primary thing they’re looking at, they say your blood was well oxygenated despite all of the apneas and hypopneas and whatever else. You were hardly asleep at all. You woke up 63 times.

GEORGE: Yeah.

DR. SELMAN: That’s after taking 123 minutes to fall asleep. So how long were you asleep for?

GEORGE: Four hours.

DR. SELMAN: You were up 63 times in four hours. It’s amazing. Can I make a copy of this?

GEORGE: We had sex three times in four days while we were in Kansas City. That’s pretty good after four years, right? Is that enough? Because you said we need to have more sex.

DR. SELMAN: Once a day is good. At least that won’t be—that’s one area that won’t be problematic.

GEORGE: This is kind of embarrassing, but since she moved in—I no longer masturbate. I think that’s great, because I am against it. Remember that Clinton health lady who was advocating it? I think it’s bad for you.

DR. SELMAN: Well, of course you would—you’re from Kansas.

GEORGE: Well, on the flip side, I think for someone who’s stuck in a boarding school at age 15, 16, 17, and the girls’ school is five miles up a mountain and you’re not allowed to be in the room of a member of the opposite sex or you can get kicked out—I think I would be in favor of the legalization of prostitution.

[ Silence.]

GEORGE: Just for teenagers in that predicament. That’s when I really needed it and I wasn’t getting it. And I think I wouldn’t be here—if I’d been getting some once a week.

DR. SELMAN: You said you got it when you were 7.

GEORGE: Yes, but then there was that long dry spell. If teachers were allowed or encouraged to have sex with students—I know of one case of that happening, and I envy that guy to this day. But I think there would be a chance that we would not be here right now, because I’m still suffering from a lack of sex back then.

DR. SELMAN: You think if you got it from a teacher?

GEORGE: Yeah, if I had an affair with the Latin teacher.

DR. SELMAN: This is a woman, I assume. And you would be a healthier person today?

GEORGE: Yes. Well, things turned around my senior year. I lost my virginity on the dean of the girls’ school’s bed, with this girl. Once she took me down to the hockey rink and she relieved me and it went all over my shirt, and I was walking around campus hoping that someone would notice it and be like, “George, nice going, man!”

DR. SELMAN: Hilly, you’re laughing. Are you amused by this?

HILLY: Ha ha ha ha …. Yeeeahhh, it’s funny.

DR. SELMAN: Is it like this in normal domestic life with you two?

GEORGE: This happened half my life ago.

DR. SELMAN: Does he jerk off on himself and leave it on there?

HILLY: Nooooo.

GEORGE: This happened when I was 18.

DR. SELMAN: George, is there anything on your shirt now that I should … ?

GEORGE: Sweat. Belly sweat.

DR. SELMAN: I’m going to be afraid to shake hands with you.

GEORGE: I told you I don’t masturbate anymore. I save it all for Hilly. She calls it Georgie Juice.

DR. SELMAN: Well, what does this have to do with your relationship?

GEORGE: I was just telling you about our sex life.

DR. SELMAN: This is your sex life?

GEORGE: I said three times in four days. And it was really good. I don’t look at exotic women lustfully anymore; I no longer masturbate. I’m just saying that I’ve got it under control now, at 38. We’re having regular sex; I’m acknowledging that it’s healthy, a good thing. I just wish that I had met Hilly when I was 15 or 16, or a “Hilly.” You know what I mean.

DR. SELMAN: And that she happened to be teaching a class ….

GEORGE: I see nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand why these women go to jail for five years for that.

[ Silence.]

DR. SELMAN: Any problems, Hilly?

HILLY: My brother dated his teacher.

GEORGE: Lucky.

[ Silence.]

DR. SELMAN: So all of this enamors you to George?

HILLY: Somehow.

DR. SELMAN: You listen to this and—

GEORGE: What am I doing wrong? I’m just being honest. This is just what’s in my noggin today, and here we are at therapy, and I’m just, you know, throwing it out there. Hilly used to practice witchcraft, didn’t you? Didn’t you cast some spells?

HILLY: Possibly. You can’t put this in the article.

GEORGE: Why?

HILLY: Because!

GEORGE: You cast a few spells?

HILLY: They worked.

[ Silence.]

DR. SELMAN: Well, I would say you guys make a perfect couple. Really. I don’t know where on earth either one of you could possibly find a better match.

HILLY: Ha ha ha ha ….

GEORGE: Trying to think of any mean things I’ve done recently. No negative thoughts! Actually, I came up with one thing—I invented this. Sometimes, when I’m walking down the street and people are coming in my direction, I’ll have this sort of gut, knee-jerk reaction, and sometimes it will be negative, like “Oh, fat person …. Bad clothes.” What I do, before those thoughts occur, I nip them in the bud by saying to myself, “Nice people!”

DR. SELMAN: Cognitive behavioral therapy.

GEORGE: Well, I invented that technique. I also invented biting the bottom of an ice-cream cone and sucking the ice cream through it, at age 6.

HILLY: And he also invented taking a shower in a bath.

DR. SELMAN [ to HILLY]: It sounds like you had a really good time on vacation.

HILLY: We did. It was wonderful. It’s so fun there, too. There’s George Gurley I and George Gurley II and George Gurley III, and there are pictures of little George all over the place.

DR. SELMAN: Pictures of Snookums?

HILLY: Scoopie!

GEORGE: I invented the word “Scoopie,” right? And “mad sleepy.”

HILLY: We stayed at his dad’s house. It’s great! He lives in this big, beautiful house on this ranch out on the top of the hill, and he has a bunch of doggies and two bunnies and chickens and lots of pictures of little George when he was little boy and an A.T.V.

DR. SELMAN: Let me ask you: This is a farm—with all the animals, you weren’t like skeeved out by the smells and—

HILLY: It’s not like a farm farm, it’s like a chic ranch.

GEORGE: I got ticks all over me one day and thought I got them all off. Then that night after all the microbrewery beers, I looked down and this tick was crawling up my chest. Must have been on my shirt the whole time or hatched on me.

DR. SELMAN: How do you know there aren’t ticks in your apartment now?

GEORGE: They might be. I did everything I could not to bring them back, because I was worried about Hilly and my cat.

HILLY: But after that much time, wouldn’t they just be huge because they would’ve sucked so much blood?

DR. SELMAN: I think you should examine him for ticks. He may need to be deloused.

GEORGE: I also invented—well, there are three things Esquire magazine stole from me. Reading The New York Times at night because it’s depressing. That was mine. They also stole saying that the bar Dusk has the best bathroom in New York City. They have this bathroom where you can be at the urinal and look at the people at the bar, but it’s one-way glass. And then, I also put it out there that I dislike movie titles with gerunds and names, like Eating Raoul, Serving Sara.

HILLY: Driving Miss Daisy.

GEORGE: Searching for Bobby Fischer. And then they stole that from me.

DR. SELMAN: Aren’t there actually bars were you can literally pee at the bar?

GEORGE: I did that once.

[ To be continued.]

—George Gurley

Prior Articles: George and Hilly published 06/26/06 George and Hilly published 06/19/06 George and Hilly published 05/29/06 George and Hilly published 05/15/06 George and Hilly published 05/08/06 George and Hilly published 05/01/06 George and Hilly published 04/17/06 George and Hilly published 04/03/06 George and Hilly published 03/20/06 George and Hilly published 02/6/06 George and Hilly published 01/23/06 George and Hilly published 01/16/06 George and Hilly published 12/26/05 George and Hilly published 11/14/05 George and Hilly published 11/07/05 George and Hilly published 10/24/05 George and Hilly published 10/17/05 George and Hilly published 10/10/05 George and Hilly published 10/03/05 George ’n’ Hilly, Back in Couples, Turn on the Doc published 09/26/05 But Should We Get Married? Part III published 08/29/05 But Should We Get Married? published 08/15/05 Should I Get Married? My Hilly Joining Me In Couples Session published 08/08/05